Sunday, July 20, 2014

July Point to Point Richmond Recap

Thanks to everyone who came to this month's Point to Point Richmond. We had a triple lineup at the Ali Amaro Gallery and Design Studio: we celebrated jewelry by pop-up guest artist Alyse Lattanzio, enjoyed colorful face paint masterpieces by Brandy Esparza of Painted Wonderland, and jammed to live acoustic music by the Blue Ribbon Healers.

Helping create a hub along our block, 39 Washington Emporium of Cool Stuff brought out some funky vintage treasures, plus Richard's one-of-a-kind art car. I got to sit in it and pose for some photos, which was very cool. Across the street Steve had guest artists and clocks galore, and the new furniture and jewelry shop Maison d'Etre opened their doors for a sneak peak.

My one regret is that I wasn't able to make the rounds this time and check out what my creative neighbors and friends were doing around town. A tree limb fell on my car halfway through the event, leaving me and Alyse to hold down the fort at the gallery while Rico took care of that little situation. Amazingly there was no damage to my car. Thanks, universe! It was a fun and memorable day!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Casa Cali Cat Life

This is pretty much my ideal state of being: sound asleep, surrounded by cuddly cats, secure in the fact that Pria's got my back.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Muir Woods

My dad came to visit last week, and one of the highlights was a visit to Muir Woods. In the nearly five years we've lived at Casa Cali, I'd not yet visited the giant redwoods. They sure are huge, but what really impressed me is how crowded Muir Woods is. Think hordes and hordes of people. But even so, it manages to be peaceful. I guess ancient trees trump tourists!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Julho Nervoso

Man, July has been quite the month when it comes to anxiety and nerves. There's been:

* World Cup (enough said).

* Fraud using my business credit card.

* A medical procedure that was pretty straightforward but had me absolutely terrified, shaking and crying the entire time. I have some major phobias surrounding cutting, stitching, and just knowing that someone is "messing with" my body. I am still exhausted from the emotional energy spent at the doctor's office.

* Results from said procedure: basal cell carcinoma. What????? Yep. A dot of skin cancer on my shoulder. Highly treatable, very unlikely to give me future problems, but still. Que susto! If you've spent lots of time in sunny-ass places like New Mexico, Brazil, Mozambique, and California, go get your spots looked at. I was shocked at this diagnosis, especially because I'm young, my skin seemed ok, nothing overly suspicious or strange going on. Just a routine skin check, and boy am I glad I went!!

On a much more pleasant note, Rico and I had our 6 year wedding anniversary at the beginning of the month. We went to the Fogo do Chão churrascaria at Santana Row in San Jose. It was pretty delicious, but not quite up to par with the Fogo in São Paulo. Still, it was a relaxing getaway and allowed me to baby my stitches.

Hard to believe it's been 6 years already...

Monday, June 30, 2014

Fraudulent Booker

Someone used my business credit card to try and purchase $1,400 worth of tickets on a travel site called

When the bank called to notify me of the fraudulent activity, I heard Hehe.

Either way, someone's plans for a real good time were spoiled because the charge was blocked.

Now I'm having the fun experience of getting a new account, reconfiguring all of my auto-pays, and catching attempts at additional fraudulent activity (even though my card has already been canceled).

On top of training an assistant, watching World Cup, helping organize Point to Point, working on a bunch of custom orders (yay!), working out, and generally hustling a hard hustle.

The life of an entrepreneur...the good, the bad, and the hectic!


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Que Pasa, Calabaza?

It's been a whirlwind month since we arrived back from Portugal. Lots of community organizing, work at the gallery, custom orders, and moments of observation and relaxation. Here is a visual record of how I've been spending my days:

Living and working in Point Richmond, there are always opportunities for a moment. Cool cars, old houses, and a neighborhood full of friendly characters. I try to walk between our house, the studio, and the gallery as much as possible. It's about 15 minutes between any of them, the ideal distance for a meander, a pause, a reset on my perspective.

This is a house where a hoarder lived for many years. It used to be full of giant nutcrackers in the windows. At a certain point it was condemned by the city. Now it's been sold, cleaned out, and is undergoing a renovation following what seemed to be a continuous, 3-week garage sale.

Speaking of chaos (albeit the beautiful, tangled, physical kind), I am so obsessed with Martin Rickert's ceramic sculptures. We have three of them in the gallery right now and I feel like they mirror my brain state much of the time. Lots of connections, a lot going on, trying to figure out how everything links together.

Martin also does stone carving. He apprenticed in Germany in the traditional guild system and is a serious craftsman. He lives and works here in Point Richmond, and is someone we're enjoying getting to know.

I've been working on a custom headdress for a client that she will wear on her 30th birthday at a beach party in Jamaica. The inspiration is a runway piece done for Givenchy. We will put a unique twist on the design by using my client's grandmother's clip-on earrings as the focal sparkly points in the headdress. I'm super excited to see this come together.

I'm also working on a big cocktail ring that has an oval blue topaz flanked by round green tourmalines. I'm creating custom basket settings for the stones, which has been an exercise in precision and geometry. Hopefully this piece will be done this weekend.

Amid all this custom work, there's been some priceless (in)action from Gato Preto Pria:

Excitingly, people from CCA alumni and career development got in touch and did a field trip to the gallery. I'm super pleased that I got on their radar, because not only am I an alum, there is the work of three other CCA graduates in the gallery right now, plus two more CCA guest artists lined up to do shows over the summer. It's a CCA party! Plus Martin!

 It's been fun to feel the gallery come into its own. The word is getting out, and increasingly it feels "real". Nothing like a sign out front to remind me that yes, this is happening. :)

The gallery participated once again in Point to Point, the pop-up community event I've been helping organize and facilitate. I offered an interactive metals stamping booth (which was a major hit) plus a little world cup and samba action (not so much of a hit, but ya gotta try, right?).

Not only did we stamp up a storm, I managed to re-home my grandfather's sparkly red accordion that has been sitting at the bottom of my coat closet for about 10 years.

 I'd left the accordion on the gallery stoop, hoping to find someone interested in playing it that could become its new owner. Lo and behold, that happened. A gentleman picked it up, rocked out, and accepted the gifted instrument. It was a magical moment.

The new accordion owner jumped into some jam sessions that were happening around the downtown area for Point to Point. It was a treat to watch!

And of course there was the solstice. A beautiful, calm, light-washed evening. It's been a good month. :)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Solstice Feast with Friends

Last week Rico and I were invited to a Midsummer's celebration at the house of new friends of ours here in Point Richmond. Lars is a labyrinth maker (what a cool profession, right?) and community organizer who I've been working closely with on Point to Point Richmond. Lars has Swedish heritage, and together with his fiancee Lissette, prepared an amazing solstice meal for us, complete with traditional foods (seed bread, smoked trout, pickles, salmon), seasonal decorations, and floral crowns. It was a great night, and it's exciting to have friends our age here in town!